Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Polish Post - Notorious

As anyone who has lived in Poland for some time knows, the Polish Post Office can provide anyone attempts to use its services with a diverse range of experiences. It can alternate from mind-crushing tedium to heart-pounding drama in a matter of a critical seconds or a non-underlined word.

I remember one occasion when I had wrapped a box up with brown paper and criss-crossed it several times with brown tape. The shrew behind the desk let out of cry of disgust and then proceeded to violently stamp every area of paper between every strip of brown tape. For some reason (I have always dreamed of knowing) there could be no empty space on the parcel without a stamp. By the end my parcel looked quite ridiculous with so many stamp marks on it. But I was just glad not to get it back.

On another occasion a visit to the post office to send a parcel took over an hour to complete. During that time the situation descended into something out of Dog Day Afternoon. Counters B and C were staffed with shrews with nothing to do but A (the only one you generally need) decided that despite the enormous queue it was time for fag break. After 30 minutes people began shouting. B and C remained unmoved and unapologetic (they certainly could not take over A's task). At 45 minutes security was called to the front to intimidate the crowd. At 50 minutes shrew A returned and deliberately randomized the counter system sending it from 900 down to 300. This was quite stunning and sent the crowd wild. Names were demanded and swear words thrown. Shrews B and C remained calm while A smiled perversely from behind the safety glass. She sent the counter system upwards - 501, 502, 503 ding ding ding all the way to 900. "I cannot make the computer go faster" she wailed. Finally we got to her and of course, we had to be polite.

I have never again set foot in that post office.


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